Tonic Newsletter – 22 January 2018

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MEDITATION AND WEIGHT LOSS

The good news is that there is a connection between meditation and weight loss! The reason that meditation is so powerful is that it helps the conscious and unconscious mind agree on changes we want to apply to our behaviour. These changes could be a number of factors such as cravings for unhealthy food or control of eating behaviours. It’s important to get your unconscious mind involved because that’s where those bad habits that often cause us to pack on the pounds, like emotional eating, are ingrained. Meditation can help you be more aware of these and, with practice, override them and even replace them with slimming habits.

Meditation can also directly reduce the levels of stress hormones. Stress hormones, like cor!sol, signal our bodies to store calories as fat. If you have a ton of cor!sol pumping through your system, it’s going to be harder to lose weight even if you’re making healthy

choices than if you clear all that stress out. I know that sounds hard as everybody is stressed and it seems impossible to shake. These hormones not only tell our bodies to store extra weight but also cause other physical problems that can lead to excess weight, like inflammation.

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Participants in a 2016 study showed “increased a$en!on, relaxation, calmness, body-mind awareness, and brain activity,” after just a couple short sessions. Your self-control could also increase with daily practice, the study suggested. Researchers found that the parts of the brain most affected by meditation were those that help us control ourselves. That means a couple minutes of meditation daily could make it easier to pass on that second cookie or avoid the ice cream when you’re feeling down.

In many cases stress is a primary trigger for excessive weight gain or the inability to effectively lose weight. So if you’ve been dieting and exercising, but constantly feel stressed, you might not be addressing the problem that’s keeping the weight around. It can be hard to form new habits, so if you start at just five minutes a day, that’s OK. It’s been shown that the best !me to meditate is first thing in the morning and right before you go to bed at night. Feel free to sit or lie down, whatever feels most comfortable for you.

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TO BEGIN

Sit in a comfortable position. Try to sit in the same place each day. Avoid positions that you might fall asleep in. The back is long and supports itself. Shoulders are relaxed downward, the neck is long, and the chin is pointing neither up nor down. The face is relaxed. Begin to breathe, preferably through the nose. Feel the belly rise, the ribs expand, and the slight movement in the collarbones and shoulders as the breath moves upward. Feel the exhalation. Focus on one aspect of the breath. The movement of air in and out of the nostrils. Or the lifting and falling of the belly. Watch that one aspect of the breath. When the mind wanders, gently bring it back to the breath and the aspect you have chosen to watch. Do this as many !mes as you need to. There is no such thing as a good or bad meditation. Start with 5–10 minutes and then increase the !me un!l you can sit for 30 minutes.

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Cheryl Hicks offers Tonic patients complimentary support with motivation, health and well-being. Drop Cheryl an email on cherylkhicks@me.com for free support and further information.

Download full PDF Newsletter Tonic newsletter 43 – meditation and weight loss

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